A man was killed when he was hit by a trailer pulled by a runaway landscaping truck Monday afternoon on Remington Drive, a subdivision road off N.C. 16 North in the Millers Creek community, according to Trooper S.E. Hall of the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Charles Allen Hale, 70, of Elmore Road in the Rock Creek community died at the scene from a head injury and other injuries.
The vehicle involved was a Ford F-350 pulling a heavy dump trailer being used by a crew with Millers Creek-based Hale’s Lawn Service, Hall said. Hale’s Lawn Service is owned by Charles Hale’s son, Justin Hale.
The lawn crew had been working at homes in the neighborhood, spreading mulch, Trooper C.M. Anderson said.
Around 4:10 p.m., Charles Hale backed the truck up a steeply-inclined driveway at a home and stopped, Anderson said. The homeowner asked that more mulch be placed around some trees.
Hale put the truck in neutral, put on the parking brake and got out to tell workers where to place the mulch. The truck and trailer began rolling down the hill and Hale, at some point, jumped on the side of the trailer after trying to stop the runaway vehicle, Anderson said.
Hale fell off and was run over by the heavy trailer, Anderson said. Workers told the trooper that Hale was dead when they got to him moments later.
The truck and trailer continued more than 200 feet across a lawn and road before hitting a house. Tim Hamilton, wife and two young sons were in the residence when it was hit.
Hamilton was in a bedroom, having taken a shower after mowing his yard, when his house was struck. “It sounded like a plane crash, said Hamilton, who was thrown across the bedroom.
Hamilton and his family were not hurt, but there was heavy damage to a wall on the front of the residence where the truck came to rest. Concrete block from the wall collapsed onto a Lexus parked in the basement.
Wilkes Emergency Medical Services and Millers Creek Fire Department personnel were at the scene, as were Chief Deputy David Carson and Capt. Brandon Absher of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office.
Hale was a volunteer member of the Wilkes Rescue Squad and part-time employee of Wilkes EMS. worked for years with the N.C. Forest Service. He was also a volunteer CPR and first aid instructor with the American Heart Association.
He worked for the N.C. Forest Service for 20 years and was assistant county ranger in Wilkes when he retired. Hale served as a Marine in the Vietnam War.